Dean’s Recipe for: Pastitsio

WGN Morning News crew is sharing their favorite holiday recipe with us

  • 1 lb. #43 Penne pasta
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 lb ground beef – 80% lean
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 shot cognac
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Cook pasta al dente; drain, add olive oil to lightly coat and return to pan. Do not overcook

Stir in the melted butter, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup milk, and the egg; set aside.

In a skillet or large saucepan, cook ground beef and onion until meat loses its pinkness and onion is soft; drain excess fat.

Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine, water, cognac, salt, mint flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper; set aside.

Cook down until liquids are nearly gone and flavor is enhanced.

Cool and mix the meat mixture with the pasta.  Set aside.

In a saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter, then mix in flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Slowly stir in the 2 cups milk, stirring well after each addition so that no lumps form.

Cook and stir on medium high until cream sauce starts to thicken; stir for one minute more, then remove from heat.

Beat egg in a small bowl, then pour into cream sauce, stirring briskly.

Blend in the 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.

Layer 1/3 the pasta/meat mixture in an 11″ x 7″ baking or lasagna dish.

Top evenly with grated parmesan cheese

Repeat with the 2nd and 3rd layer of mixture.

Pour cream sauce over top, to cover completely.

Add one more layer of parmesan,  bread crumbs and dot evenly with butter.

Bake, uncovered, at 350F for about 45 minutes, or until hot and lightly browned.

Let stand for 10 minutes.

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